Ios is in a class all its own, a true Greek God among hedonistic adventures drenched in doses of cheap alcohol. Diversions from such gratification are non-existent, forcing one to focus full attention to the pleasures at hand.
Ios pretty much just consists of a port, a town and a beach. One road connects all three and during the day, a pair of buses travel this route back and forth. It take 30 minutes to complete the journey, so you know you can catch a bus at the beach every half-hour.
Life on Ios is about as uncomplicated as the bus service.
Rooms to Let – Where To Stay In Ios
Sometimes, Ios “sells out,” when it reaches its capacity of revelers. In the height of summer, officials sometimes will not allow passengers to depart the ferry unless they have advance reservations. Advance reservations in Greece means one day ahead of time; this can be arranged through a travel agency on another island. Otherwise, use the tourist office at the port; the place is so small that there are not people to greet you with rooms as is the case at other islands.
Better yet, just ask for a room at Francesco’s. For 2500dr per day you get a clean bed, a shower with enough hot water to get the job done and a working toilet. You even get a couple of shots of alcohol upon check-in and VIP privileges (meaning a few free drinks) at the bar Francesco owns, the Blue Note Cafe.
Rooms are hostel-style, so sleeping with strangers is commonplace. Okay, sleeping with strangers is commonplace in Ios, but what we mean is that it’s typical to bunk with other travelers. The rooms are amazingly clean considering the beating they take from their guests.
Some people opt to stay at the beach at the humorously-named Far Out Cafe. This way, they figure, they can roll out of bed in the afternoon and be passed out on the beach in minutes. The downside is really down – it’s a dark and steep walk home down the side of a cliff at night when one’s equilibrium is seriously off-kilter.
PubClubbing In Ios: The Bar Scene
There are only three real activities on Ios: drinking, mating and recovering. There are no excursions to take, no ruins to see, and renting a moped would be like signing a death certificate. The crowd is young – mostly early to middle 20s – and overzealous drinkers pass out in the middle of the streets and alleys. Some don’t make it back to their rooms until the next evening.
The island is a sleepy community when the sun it out. People emerge from their bunkers well after high noon and slowly stagger to the beach. There is a bus stop from town, but most people choose to make the 15-minute walk down the hill. On the way back from the beach, when faced with a serious uphill climb, that’s the time to take the bus.
The Far Out Cafe offers food and shelter from the sun. Some people swim, daredevils jump off the cliffs and a few hangover-immune Aussies will try to entice beach goers into silly little drinking games. Most people, however, lay dormant on the sand until about 4, when the lure of 16-ounce, 500dr beers becomes too much to ignore.
This is when the real action on Ios takes place. The “meet now/meet out later” strategy is implemented with great effectiveness here. The Far Out Cafe is the best meeting spot on Ios.
The tiny town square, dormant much of the time, comes alive at midnight. It is the central meeting spot and provides a prelude to the bar activity.
Ios town is not much more than a series of small bars wrapped around this square. People tend to float between their 3-4 favorites – picking them out of the more than 100 available – and the most popular are the aforementioned Blue Note; the Flame, which serves flaming drinks and the Slammer Bar, specializing in tequila slammers. At the latter, patrons don a batting helmet, then after one slammings a shot, get whacked on the head with a bat to amplify the effects of the tequila.
The newest hot spot on the island is Aftershock a true dance club in every sense of the word. With sexy go-go dancers and hip music, it brings a bit of Euro-club flair to Ios.
The Pegasus Club is often crowded and has a “fastest drinking” contest each night (welcome to Ios!).
As far as the other clubs, go with your favorite choice of music:Homer’s Cave is heavy metal/punk music; Amadeus is jazz, blues, salsa and reggae Ios Blue is rock and roll; Disco 69 is current and classic hits; and so forth.
For those seeking a romantic getaway without trekking to Santorini, Ios Club sits at the top of a hill and provides majestic views of the sea. It’s perfect for sunsets.
Most of the bars are small in size, but here size doesn’t matter due to overhwelming quantity.
Drinks are cheap — beers for 300dr, shots for as little as 600dr and mixed cocktails for 700dr — and so is the quality of the alcohol. On Ios, however, it’s quantity that counts the most.
The bars in town close at 3, at which time there is a drunken stampede to Scorpion Bar. It’s a dance club on a cliff just outside of town with a cover and slightly more expensive cocktails; some people never make it and pass out along the way. Scorpion Nightclub is a round cave-like building; with all the people inside and alcohol inside one’s system, it appears to be a huge disco. In reality, it’s fairly small.
Most people can take this lifestyle only in small doses. On the other hand, some spend their entire Greek holiday on Ios. They experience none of the culture of being in one of the world’s oldest civilizations and meet hardly any of its people. But they sure do have a party.